Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Egypt CEOs are “firmly” optimistic, bucking Mideast trend.
Plus: Trump says he’s soon coming for a visit.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Egypt will issue a USD 1.5-2 bn eurobond next week, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Reuters yesterday. This comes following the strong appetite for Egypt’s USD 4 bn eurobond in January. “The new bonds will not require a second roadshow as they will be part of the same debt programme issued in January,” according to Reuters. Egypt raised “twice as much as targeted and at lower yields than expected” in January and “a second issuance with high turnout in just five months would suggest growing appetite among foreign investors for Egypt,” the wire service says. The move comes after the Ismail government raised in April the cap on the total value of bonds it can issue in a year to USD 7 bn from USD 5 bn. “The government’s current trend is to replace domestic borrowing by external borrowing in order to reduce the cost of borrowing as local interest rates rise,” Reham El Desoki of Arqaam Capital said at the time.

That spread may be even more stark by next week, as the nation’s business community braces itself for a meeting of the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) this coming Sunday, 21 May. How the MPC will react to pressure from the International Monetary Fund to hike rates was very much on the minds of attendees at CI Capital’s MENA investment conference in Gouna yesterday, a friend tells us.

<rant>You folks know where we stand on this one: Raising rates only hikes borrowing costs for the state and the thin slice of Egypt — corporate and retail — that enjoys access to credit. In a nation in which perhaps one in five people have access to a bank account, interest rates are not an effective means of transmitting monetary policy. And in a situation in which the spike inflation rate was driven by a one-off event (the float of the EGP) — and when that inflation is tapering month-on-month — it’s questionable whether an interest rate hike would be necessary even if we were an economy with reasonable banking penetration.</rant>

Something is brewing on the welfare front. The Social Solidarity Ministry is holding a press conference today on the most recent developments in government’s social welfare programs, Al Mal reports. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, World Bank MENA Vice President Hafez Ghanem, Planning Minister Hala El Said, and Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait are among those expected to attend, the newspaper reports.

Are we under pressure to join Saudi Arabia and Russia in their pact on cutting oil output? That’s the suggestion from the Wall Street Journal, where Egypt gets a brief mention alongside Turkmenistan: “Major producers are willing to extend the cut and are working to bring in new non-OPEC participants including Turkmenistan and Egypt, according to people familiar with the matter.” Reuters notes that Egypt and Turkmenistan will attend the 25 May meeting of OPEC as observers for the first time. Positive chatter from KSA and Russia on extending the pact into 2018 sent oil up 2% yesterday, breaking the USD 52 / bbl barrier.

Reading the tea leaves on China: We’re on the lookout today for clips from Investment Minister Sahar Nasr’s interview with China’s CCTV in Beijing on Monday, in which she talked about Egyptian-Chinese economic relations as well as investment opportunities in Egypt, especially under the new Investment Act, according to a ministry statement (pdf).

The Africa Finance Corporation’s infrastructure summit wraps up today in Abuja, Nigeria. Renaissance Capital’s chief economist Charles Robertson, Carbon Holdings CEO Basil El-Baz, and former Egyptian Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali are among the summit’s speakers.

WannaCry isn’t going away — and its pal EsteemAudit may be on its way. The WannaCry ransomware attack prompted several large businesses in Egypt yesterday to push out awareness emails, patch machines and in at least one case take extraordinary security measures to ward against the attack. A second wave of ransomware could be coming: The Financial Times is warning this morning that the dark web has weaponized another leaked US National Security Agency tool (this one originally called EsteemAudit), which can now be deployed as a global attack by evildoers, well, anywhere. Meanwhile, some analysts are suggesting that North Korea may have had something to do WannaCry.

In short: Now may be the time to go re-read our suggested primer on how to figure out whether someone is setting you up for a phishing or ransomware attack.

And for you football nuts out there: Ronaldo is coming to Omm El Donia. Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is arriving in Egypt today with his family to attend the opening of the Albatros Aqua Park in Sharm El Sheikh, Al Shorouk reports.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The House of Representatives’ Energy Committee will discuss the Daba’a nuclear power plant agreement this week in the hopes of bringing it to a plenary session vote soon.

Egypt’s ambassador to Kenya inaugurated yesterday the first expo in Africa highlighting Egyptian exports to the continent, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The expo, organized by the Trade and Industry Ministry, runs until Thursday, 18 May.

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed is in Manama for the first Bahraini-Egyptian Expo organized by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Egyptian Industries, Al Shorouk reports. The expo, which kicked off yesterday, comes to a close tomorrow.

On The Horizon

We’re keeping our eyes on the IMF Executive Board’s meeting calendar to see when they plan to review and vote on the staff-level agreement that could see us receive the second tranche of the USD 12 bn extended fund facility by the end of June. As of this morning, Egypt doesn’t appear on any of the board’s agenda for upcoming meetings.

The Ismail cabinet sent the Consumer Protection Act to the Council of State (Maglis Al Dawla) for a second review after having amended parts of the bill,Al Borsa said on Monday. The 85-article Act sets tougher penalties for price gouging and failing to meet health requirements. The bill would also make it mandatory for shopkeepers to print out receipts for every transaction and outlines guidelines for returning purchases.

Also on the State Council’s agenda: A review of amendments a 1941 commercial fraud law and the proposed overhaul of the Mineral Resources Act, both of which are due back to cabinet next week.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Monday was a bland evening on the airwaves. Planning Minister Hala El Said told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi that the government’s sustainable development plan aims to push GDP growth levels up to 4.6% over the next fiscal year and considerably decrease inflation levels. The plan also forecasts five-year improvements to investment, job creation and industrial output (watch, runtime 10:25).

Al Hadidi also spoke with Education Minister Tarek Shawky, who notably suggested — we’re putting a sharp point on this here — that reform of the education system will be possible once teachers are paid a living wage (watch, runtime 3:42).

On Kol Youm, Amr Adib was also on about education, with his guest of the night being Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar. Among other things, he discussed a desire to change the way students apply to and are accepted by state-funded universities (watch, runtime 6:04).

“Internally displaced” Copts: Adib also spoke to Port Said Governor Adel El Ghadban about the issues still facing Coptic families who have left or been forced from their homes in North Sinai’s Al Arish due to violence (watch, runtime 6:45).

Over on Masaa DMC, Eman El Hosary talked preparations for Ramadan with Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy, who told the host that there’s not much ‘yameesh’ (think nuts and dried fruits, and other things that go into popular Ramadan dishes) in the market this year because most of these products are imported, and our money simply buys less now (watch, runtime 2:46). That’s not a stab at the EGP float, though: El Moselhy said the float was necessary to boost foreign reserves and allow the state to cover its needs of staples like oil, sugar, and rice (watch, runtime 8:36).

Meanwhile on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tamer Amin spoke to MP Abla El Hawari about her proposed “rules of engagement,” or amendments to the Personal Status Law to regulate couples’ engagement periods. She apparently has bigger plans in mind that include legislative solutions for all types of family problems (watch, runtime 1:57). There are no words.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

We’re are an increasingly confident lot: The YPO’s 1Q2017 global confidence survey was out last week, and we’ve just gotten around to pulling it out of our slush pile. Globally, business confidence is essentially stable, the survey found, with the big deviations from the trend coming in the Middle East (where executives reported the biggest decline in confidence of any region in this quarter’s survey) and in Africa (also down on last quarter). CEOs in Egypt are bucking the trend, the YPO says, reporting that “Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence … with a surge in confiden[ce] of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4.” You can check out the results of the global poll here with a number of cool interactive features, or dive straight into the YPO’s analysis of the MENA results. YPO bills its survey as “the only CEO economic sentiment indicator to span the globe on a quarterly basis.”

Trump tells El Sisi he will visit Cairo “at the earliest opportunity”: US President Donald Trump told President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a phone call yesterday that he plans to visit Cairo “at the earliest opportunity,” according to a presidency statement. The two also discussed strategic relations and efforts to combat terrorism. El Sisi and Trump are also expected to meet in Riyadh at the Arab Islamic-American Summit taking place on Sunday, 21 May.

Egypt should make it easier to do business and try harder to attract direct investment, economists tell Reuters’ Asma Alsharif. She describes the IMF report, which said its program in Egypt was off to a “good start,” as “glowing.” The Finance Ministry said the IMF review was "a new certificate of confidence for the strength of the Egyptian economic reform programme.” CI Capital economist Hany Farahat says “we are seeing aggressive reforms from the government to bring the deficit down and we’re seeing numbers improving beyond expectations when it comes to foreign liquidity in the banking sector.” Arqaam Capital Reham El-Desouki agrees, saying “Egypt has succeeded in attracting large amounts of portfolio investment. The next big step is attracting direct investment, whether local or foreign, and for that to happen a regulatory environment for investment needs to be cleared … The biggest risk now is execution risk and a lot of investors will be waiting to see how this will be implemented through the executive regulations. So there will be a pause in significant direct investment until a regulatory environment is clear.” Farahat also has eyes on the investment act, but notes that the key here is that the market is waiting for the executive regulations. “If the executive regulations don’t come out then there is no law … This is causing us not to tap into the potential that we would be capitalising on today if the whole legislative reforms had been completed,” he says.

GAFI will solicit business input on executive regulations, muddies timeline on which they’re expected: The General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) — soon to be renamed the General Authority for Investment — will ask business and investor associations for their input on the executive regulations of the newly-approved Investment Act, which are expected sometime in the next three months, according to GAFI chief Mohamed Khodeir, Al Borsa said on Monday.

The first day of budget discussions at the House was fairly smooth: Discussion at the House Budget Committee of the FY2017-18 state budget kicked off yesterday and went reasonably smoothly apart from the expected griping about inflation. That’s building toward resistance to hiking energy prices this summer on concerns about what that would do to consumers, according to Al Shorouk.

El Garhy briefed MPs on the state’s “special revenue funds” which members of the House have been trying to link to state coffers via legislation. The cumulative value of the funds or “special accounts” currently stands at EGP 33 bn, El Garhy said according to Youm7. The minister dismissed rumors suggesting that the accounts — which are subject to little oversight, are funded through channels separate from the normal budget process, and can reportedly be deployed at a minister’s request — hold more than EGP 600 bn. Members of the House Economics Committee have reportedly written Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to ask that the government present MPs with detailed reports on the special accounts, according to Al Mal.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy reportedly declined to answer MPs’ questions about plans for energy price hikes in the new budget,but committee members said they plan on meeting with Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla sometime in the next few days in a bid to postpone in the short term any energy price hikes, according to Al Borsa.

Separately, cabinet is reportedly set to receive plans for new electricity prices this week. The Electricity Ministry will send multiple scenarios for a proposed July price hikes to Cabinet this week, an unnamed ministry official tells Al Shorouk. The tariff increases will not be steep, and will hardly be felt by lower-income citizens, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker tells the newspaper. However, Shaker reaffirmed that the hikes are coming, and that failing to raise prices come July would cost state coffers some EGP 60 bn. The phase-out of subsidies will be implemented gradually over a period of five to seven years to avoid burdening the average citizen, the minister said, reiterating a long-standing government talking point.

House Budget Committee signs off on capital markets stamp tax: The House of Representatives’ Budgeting Committee signed off on the new 0.125% stamp tax (or EGP 1.25 for every EGP 1,000 in transaction value) that will be applied on the buy- and sell-sides of all capital market transactions once issued, Al Mal reported yesterday. The duty — which will gradually increase to 0.175% by its third year in effect — could come to a plenary session vote any day now, but will only be enforced once ratified by the presidency and published in the official gazette, probably in late May or early June, according to Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer. Sell-siders: Reuters has the story in English, so you’ll want to touch base about this today with any particularly skittish clients. As originally conceived by cabinet, the stamp tax is two-sided and will be charged to both the buy- and sell-side of any transaction.

Unemployment in Egypt has dropped to 12.0% in 1Q2017 from 12.4% a quarter earlier, according to CAPMAS. The labor force increased by 0.3% q-o-q in 1Q2017 to 29.15 mn and the number of those who are unemployed dropped by 2.5% to 3.50 mn in the same quarter. The unemployment rate among females is still stubbornly high at 24.7%, despite dropping from its 4Q2016 level of 25.3%. Among males, the unemployment rate is at 8.2%. Youth unemployment remains a concern as 79% of those who are unemployed are in the 15-29 year old bracket, according to CAPMAS. Labor force participation rate stood at 45.8% in 1Q2017, down from 46.4% in 4Q2016.

China Fortune Land Development (CFLD) plans to invest USD 20 bn in Egypt over the next 10 years, according to an Investment and International Cooperation Ministry press release. The planned investments include projects in the New Administrative Capital in which it will begin a month after the contract for the project is signed. The project’s contract with CFLD is expected to be completed and signed soon, and the first phase of the project will be implemented within a year.

Egypt canceled a sale of seven-year treasury bonds at auction yesterday, according to central bank data, Reuters reports. No reason was given for the cancellation, but average yields on the three-year bonds had increased to 17.360% from 17.229% at the last similar auction, the newswire reported.

EARNINGS WATCH- EFG Hermes recorded a net profit after tax and minority interest from continued operations of EGP 236 mn in 1Q2017. Total operating revenue increased by 106% y-o-y to EGP 825 mn during the quarter. “Our revenue growth reflects both the robust health of our traditional agency business and a growing contribution from our non-bank financial institution. During the second quarter of 2017, we will continue to lay the foundation for profitable revenue growth as we begin integrating our newly acquired Pakistan operation into our platform and press ahead with the rollout of our frontier markets, more NBFI products and merchant banking strategies,” CEO Karim Awad says.

EK Holding turned in an exceptional quarter despite translating what are largely EGP-denominated revenues into USD for the purposes of its financial statements. Attributable net income grew 3% to USD 22.5 mn on flattish revenues of USD 103.4 mn, meaning its attributable net income grew 127% year-on-year in EGP terms. EKH’s investments benefitted from prevailing macro trends including the drive for import substitutes, exports and better availability of energy. The company’s full earnings release is here (pdf).

Telecom Egypt reported in net profit attributable to shareholders growing to EGP 1.34 bn in 1Q2017 from EGP 1.28 bn a year earlier. Operating revenue increased to EGP 4.19 bn during the quarter from EGP 3.06 bn in 1Q2016.

Meanwhile, a handful of international stories worth noting in brief this morning:

  • US President Donald Trump is under attack for allegedly having revealed to Moscow “highly classified intelligence” about a planned operation against Daesh. Trump is said to have made the remarks during a meeting in the Oval Office with Russia’s foreign minister. (Reuters | New York Times | Wall Street Journal)
  • Mass executions in Syria: The US is accusing the government of Bashar Al-Asad in Syria of running a crematorium to destroy evidence of mass executions. (Wall Street Journal | New York Times)
  • GCC willing to recognize Israel? The GCC countries are offering to upgrade relations with Israel “if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a significant overture aimed at restarting the Middle East peace process.” The jockeying comes ahead of Trump’s planned tour of the region this month. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hardliners in Iran are closing ranks around Ebrahim Raisi against moderate Hassan Rouhani, the presumptive frontrunner in the polls. Conservative Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf pulled out of the race yesterday and threw his supporters behind Raisi. (Associated Press)

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The Macro Picture

Red Hot Emerging-Market Stocks Are Showing Signs of Overheating,” Bloomberg warns this morning, writing that “after the MSCI Emerging Market Index’s surge of about 17 percent this year, momentum indicators suggest the rally is losing steam.” Why? It’s all technical mumbo-jumbo. “The benchmark is approaching a resistance level formed by the trend line connecting the peaks in 2011, 2014 and 2015. While breaking above it would be a bullish omen, other technical signals also point to some overheating.”

Elsewhere this morning, if you manage other people’s funds and have any concerns about job security amid the rise of index funds and robo-advisors, go check out the Financial Times’ “2,000% rise in new money allocated to smart-beta funds,” which notes that, “Smart-beta funds, which act as a halfway house between active and passive management, drew a net USD 24 bn in the first three months of the year, up from USD 1 bn during the same period in 2016” as investors sought out what a BlackRock guy calls “efficient low-cost access to persistent drivers of returns.” Smart-beta funds now account for nearly 15% of the USD 4 tn invested in global ETFs, the Financial Times reports.

So what’s a smart-beta fund? In a sentence, an index fund that’s been ‘tweaked’ in the hope of generating “above-market returns, such as by excluding volatile stocks.” This video from Sara Shores, BlackRock’s global head of smart beta, dives a bit deeper (watch 3:04).

Image of the Day

Blast from the colorful past: The psychedelic vibes of 1960s and ‘70s America, which first emanated from counterculture and anti-war movements, found their way into the mainstream, with companies including Coca Cola, Wrangler Jeans, Woolworths, and even Chelsea National Bank having adapted the color and vibrant tones of pop art for their advertising purposes. Check out more of these trippy ads here.

Egypt in the News

It is another delightfully slow news day for Egypt. Among the small handful of stories that rise to the level of barely worth skimming:

  • Egypt and Sudan’s border dispute is escalating, Maged Atef writes in Foreign Affairs (paywall) in a piece that appears to have been penned before the two sides tried to bury the hatchet in recent days — and before Omar Al Bashir stirred the pot a bit yesterday.
  • A collection of Victorian-era photographs by Scottish traveler JaneStewart include the Pyramids in Egypt in the 1860s, according to the Daily Mail. The recently discovered album is up for an auction today.
  • Six Egyptian mummies from the British Museum will be on display at the Hong Kong Science Museum, according to Xinhua.
  • RTE says an Egyptian doctor in Ireland is facing allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance in an inquiry that is becoming one of the longest inquiries held in modern times by Ireland’s Medical Council.

On Deadline

Parliamentarians’ proposals of pointless legislation are painting a negative image of Egypt, Ezzat El Kamhawy writes in Al Masry Al Youm. El Kamhawy draws a chuckle-worthy parallel between genetic engineering and whatever scientific disaster yielded our elected representatives before warning that such pointless bills only put the country at risk of becoming a banana republic.

If you’ve seen the fistfight in Macedonia’s parliament (to cite but one recent example — watch it here), you know that we don’t have the market cornered on parliamentary lunacy. But still, antics have a different flavor when they’re coming from an Egyptian MP.

Worth Watching

Perched atop the 131-foot-tall Katshki pillar in Georgia is a 1,000-year-old church that is arguably the most peaceful place on the planet — and one man’s home. According to Culture Trip, the church was abandoned for years until one mountaineer scaled the rock in 1944. Another man moved into the building two years ago and built a ladder that allows him to descend onto steady ground twice a week. We’re impressed with the tenant’s commitment to avoiding the entire human race, but can’t help but think about how much of a hassle it would be to carry groceries up that ladder (watch, runtime 0:43).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir snapped at Egypt when speaking to Al Jazeeraon Monday, saying Khartoum has been patient with Cairo despite Egypt illegally “occupying” Sudanese territory, a reference to Egypt’s sovereignty over the Halayeb and Shalatin areas. Al Bashir also said that Sudan has been silent in the face of insults by the Egyptian media to honor and respect its ages-old and longstanding relationship with Egypt.

Banque Misr and China Development bank signed a USD 500 mn financing agreement in Beijing, on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum, according to an Investment and International Ministry press release. China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation also agreed to cover export credit guarantees for Chinese companies. In addition, the Suez Canal Economic Zone, the China-Africa Development Fund, and Chengdu Port signed a framework agreement for investments at Ain Sokhna Port. Also signed in China was an agreement between the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, the Export–Import Bank of China, the Bank of China, and the China Development Bank to transmit 500 KW to the national grid, to be implemented by the State Grid Corporation of China.

In related news, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr signed an MoU with the Chairman of China’s Sinosure on Monday, which promises to facilitate procedures for Chinese investments in Egypt, Al Mal says.

Egypt will be the guest of honor at the China-Arab States trade fair from 6-9 September in Yinchuan, Al Ahram quotes Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil as having said. The Egyptian-Chinese Business Council is also expected to meet in Cairo sometime during the second half of the year, according to Kabil.

Because we still think Africa is a country: An Egyptian-African Business Council has been established to promote trade between Egypt and the rest of the continent, Egyptian Federation of Investors Associations head Mohamed Farid Khamis said, Al Ahram reports. The council will look into setting up a company tasked with promoting Egyptian goods and services.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday condemning armed attacks in the Central African Republic over the past several days that killed six UN peacekeeping troops and several civilians.

Energy

Alfanar injecting USD 300 mn investments in electricity, renewable energy in Egypt

Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar is targeting investments worth USD 300 mn in Egypt in the electricity and renewable energy sectors, vice chairman Sabah Almutlaq says, Al Borsa reports. Almutlaq did not specify a time for the investments, but we know that Alfanar signed last week a power purchase agreement to sell solar power from a USD 75 mn, 50 MW power station in Benban to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.

Infrastructure

WB to disburse USD 130 mn tranche of wastewater projects loan next month

The World Bank is set to disburse next month a second USD 130 mn tranche of the USD 550 mn facility financing the first phase of a number of wastewater projects, Al Mal reports. The first phase, implemented in Daqahliyah, Sharqiya, and Behera, is scheduled for completion in 2022. The WB has also committed to a second, USD 500 mn funding package for the project’s second phase in other areas, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s raw sugar production expected to increase by 7% y-o-y in 2017-18

Egypt’s production of raw sugar is expected to grow 7% y-o-y to 2.42 mn tonnes in marketing year 2017-18, according to US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Services’ Global Agricultural Information Network 2017 report. The increase is driven by the a wider area under cultivation with sugarcane and beets. The government is paying farmers higher prices than last year as an incentive. Beet sugar production is forecast to increase by 4% y-o-y to 1.32 mn tonnes, and sugar from sugarcane is expected to increase by 10% y-o-y to 1.1 mn tonnes.

Egypt purchased 1.7 mn tonnes of wheat from farmers since mid-April

The government bought 1.7 mn tonnes of wheat from local farmers since the beginning of the domestic harvest season in mid-April, the Supply Ministry said, according to Reuters. The ministry expects to buy 3.8 mn tonnes of wheat from local farmers this season.

Supply Ministry raises prices of imported meat, poultry

The Supply Ministry raised the prices of imported meat and local and imported poultry days ahead of Ramadan, Al Borsa reports. Prices of fresh Sudanese meat increased EGP 5 to EGP 80 per kg, while frozen Brazilian meat will now be sold at EGP 69 per kg, up from EGP 48. Local and imported poultry prices rose to EGP 35 per kg and EGP 31 per kg, respectively, from EGP 25.

Real Estate + Housing

SECON purchases 70 feddans in New Administrative Capital

The Saudi Egyptian Construction Company (SECON) purchased 70 feddans in the New Administrative Capital, Al Ahram reports. SECON CEO Darwish Hassanein said the company will use the land to develop residential, commercial and office space.

Tourism

Hajj prices spike 80% above last year

Hajj prices have risen by 80% compared to last year on the back of the float of the EGP, the Tourism Ministry says, Ahram Gate reports. A five-star program starts at EGP 100k, a four-star program is EGP 74k, an economy tier starts at EGP 49k, and the cheapest hajj by bus now costs EGP 50k. We had noted demand for hajj in Egypt is expected to fall by 30-40% y-o-y due to high prices.

AMC to operate direct flights to Armenia from Hurghada, Sharm

Cairo-based charter airline AMC Airlines will operate direct flights between Hurghada and Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, starting 18 June, Public Radio of Armenia reports. The airline will also operate flights between Sharm El Sheikh and Yerevan starting 24 September. Air Cairo Airline will operate weekly Hurghada-Yerevan and Sharm El Sheikh-Yerevan flights between June and October.

Other Business News of Note

10% hardship raise to be disbursed as part of May’s paycheck

The 10% hardship raise for state employees who do not fall under the Civil Service Act will be disbursed with May salaries; the sum owed will be retroactive to July 2016, a source tells Al Shorouk. We had noted it was slated in a single transaction before Ramadan.

Egypt Politics + Economics

VAT reels in EGP 130 bn since September

The value-added tax has reeled in EGP 130 bn since coming into effect in September, compared to EGP 96 bn brought in from the sales tax during the same period last year, an unnamed government source tells Al Borsa.

On Your Way Out

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is working to increase women’s participation in the economy. IFC is hosting a conference to encourage women’s participation in the private sector, with UN Women, the Global Compact Network in Egypt, the Egyptian Institute of Directors, and the National Council for Women, according to a press release. It is part of IFC’s corporate governance program in Egypt, supported by the Japanese government. “Only [7%] of Egypt’s firms are led by a female executive, and they earn, on average, about [22%] less than their male counterparts. Closing these gaps could help Egypt increase its [GDP] by [32%],” reads the release.

Egyptians crossed the 93 mn citizen mark at 6 PM CLT on Monday, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics’ (CAPMAS) counter. Egypt’s population growth rates are still among the highest in the world, CAPMAS’ second in command Mohamed Abdel Gelil tells AMAY, claiming that Egyptians are multiplying in number 5x faster than the Chinese at 2.3% in 2016.

The Interior Ministry has confirmed that Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib El Adly is on the run after being handed down a seven-year prison sentence for corruption, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0315 | Sell 18.1338
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Monday): 12,866 (flat)
Turnover: EGP 698 mn
EGX 30 year-to-date: +4.2%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session almost flat. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Porto Group up 7.1%, Amer Group up 6.5%, and Egyptian Iron and Steel up 4.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Global Telecom down 1.9%, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 1.6%, and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology down 1.4%. The market turnover was EGP 698 mn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -0.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +10.7 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -10.5 mn

Retail: 70.7% of total trades | 69.9% of buyers | 71.6% of sellers
Institutions: 29.3% of total trades | 30.1% of buyers | 28.4% of sellers

Foreign: 18.8% of total | 18.7% of buyers | 18.8% of sellers
Regional: 7.0% of total | 7.8% of buyers | 6.2% of sellers
Domestic: 74.2% of total | 73.2% of buyers | 75% of sellers

WTI: USD 49.09 (+0.49%)
Brent: USD 52.04 (+0.42%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.35 MMBtu, (+0.12%, June 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,233.00 / troy ounce (+0.24%)

TASI: 6,891.99 (+0.57%) (YTD: -4.42%)
ADX: 4,564.31 (-0.63%) (YTD: +0.39%)
DFM: 3,377.82 (-1.11%) (YTD: -4.33%)
KSE Weighted Index: 402.75 (+0.52%) (YTD: +5.96%)
QE: 10,118.13 (+0.56%) (YTD: -3.05%)
MSM: 5,416.47 (-0.07%) (YTD: -6.33%)
BB: 1,311.98 (+0.12%) (YTD: +7.50%)

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Calendar

14-16 May (Sunday-Tuesday): CI Capital’s first MENA Investor Conference, Gouna.

14-17 May (Sunday-Wednesday): Arab Sustainable Development Week, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

15-17 May (Monday-Wednesday): Morgan Stanley’s 3rd Annual GEMS Conference (EEMEA), London.

16 May (Tuesday): Official expiry date for the decision to suspend capital gains taxes on stock market transactions.

21 May (Sunday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee Meeting.

22-23 May (Monday-Tuesday): North Africa Mobile Network Optimisation Conference, Cairo.

27 May (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

07-09 June (Wednesday-Friday): 19th Annual Africa Energy Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

26-28 June (Monday-Wednesday): Eid Al-Fitr (TBC).

30 June (Friday): 30 June, national holiday.

15-19 July (Saturday-Wednesday): SSIGE’s GeoMEast 2017 International Congress and Exhibition, Sharm El Sheikh.

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

02-05 September (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday (TBC).

17-19 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Pipeline-Pipe-Sewer-Technology Conference & Exhibition, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

18-19 September (Monday-Tuesday): Euromoney Egypt conference, venue TBD.

20-23 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

22 September (Friday): Islamic New Year, national holiday (TBC).

03-05 October (Tuesday-Thursday): J.P. Morgan’s Credit and Equities Emerging Markets Conference, London, UK.

06 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

18-20 October (Wednesday-Friday): AfriLabs annual gathering with the theme “Smart Cities,” The French University, Cairo. Register here.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

08-10 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594). Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2016 Enterprise Ventures LLC.